Mineral Belt Volume II Old South Park Across the Great Divide HC 2nd Print MAP
Mineral Belt Volume II Old South Park Across the Great Divide HC 2nd Print MAP
Mineral Belt Volume II Old South Park Across the Great Divide HC 2nd Print MAP
Mineral Belt Volume II Old South Park Across the Great Divide HC 2nd Print MAP
Mineral Belt Volume II Old South Park Across the Great Divide HC 2nd Print MAP

Mineral Belt Volume II Old South Park Across the Great Divide HC 2nd Print MAP

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Mineral Belt Volume II Old South Park Across the Great Divide HC 2nd Print MAP
The Mineral Belt Volume II Old South Park Across the great divide An illustrated history by David Digerness 416 pages.  Hard cover WITH plasic covering.  Copyright 1978, SECOND PRINTING 1980.  BACK POCKET contains a map and Georgetown Courier

Contents:  From Denver to Como --  The Leadville High Line -- Climax-- At the top of the world
-- Alma to Hancock -- Alpine tunnel to Gunnison -- Baldwin and Crested Butte

VOLUME 1 of The Mineral Belt covers the history of the Colorado narrow-gauge railway commonly known as the "Old South Park" - a story of one of the most
colorful mountain rail lines ever to grace the high country of the Centennial State. In particular, Volume I coven that part of the Old South Park's history leading up to the road's arrival in the Leadville Mining District and its connection with the Denver & Rio Grande Railway. In addition. Volume I takes a detailed look at the basic reason for the existence of narrow-gauge railways among the crags and canyons of The Mineral Belt -- precious gold and silver, and the hardrock mining industry exploiting these lustrous metals.
Much of Volume I. presented to the reader as The Mineral Belt, was viewed by Jesse S. Randall. the editor and founder of the Georgetown Courier. Mr. Randall's firsthand observations about the South Park line. the rugged mining camps and towns, the mining, milling and smelting enterprises of the region, and the sometimes flamboyant people involved in these activities provide an unusual - if not unique - insight into the pioneer days of Colorado.

The Denver South Park & Pacific Railroad Company -the original corporate name of the Old South Park line -often was referred to as a mineral road. This truly was an appropriate title, as the road came into existence with Colorado's early-day precious-mineral mining industry. And by and large, the unwarranted decline of this industry brought about an end to this little narrow-gauge line.

From its eastern terminus in Denver, the South Park road ran its narrow-gauge track up the once famous South Platte Canyon to cross Kenosha Hill at nearly 10.000 feet above sea level. From this summit, the line dropped down into the sprawling mountain meadowland that gave the railway its name - South Park. Thence, the road struck off in a south. westerly direction to cross a mountain gap high alongside the upper Arkansas River Valley. Once down in the river valley. the road split into two sections, with one line going south and the other. north. The line to the north was the original route the railway followed to reach the mining camp of Leadville. Located high in the Sawatch Range, not far from the highest peaks of Colorado - Mount Massive (at 14,421 feet) and Mount Elbert (Colorado's highest at 14,433 feet) - Leadville was the most important point on the line. The route to the south turned westward at Nathrop to follow Chalk Creek past St. Elmo, upgrade to the renowned Alpine Tunnel. Perched nearly atop the Sawatch Range. at 11.612 feet elevation, this was the road's original crossing of the Great Divide. From the great tunnel, the line dropped down past the spectacular Palisades into Quartz Creek Valley to Pitkin, and then went on into Gunnison, the western terminus of the road.

The original line into Leadville utilized jointly operated Rio Grande-South Park trackage which - unfortunately for the South Park - was owned by the Denver & Rio Grande. After a "falling out," the South Park was forced to find a new route into Leadville. This new line - called the High Line - left the mainline at Como (in South Park) to cross the Great Divide twice. once at Boreas Pass and once at Fremont Pass - both at elevations in excess of 11.000 feet above sea level. The High Line eventually found its way into Leadville by way of Breckenridge and Climax, traversing the canyons of the Blue River and Ten Mile Creek en route.

This spectacular operation was the largest narrow-gauge railway contained entirely within the borders of Colorado. And mileage wise the South Park was second only to the extensive Rio Grande system. Under Colorado & Southern aegis, the South Park boasted of slightly less than 400 miles of 3-foot-gauge trackage.

Alas ... this little mountain railway that had few equals anywhere in the Rocky Mountain West is no more. All the narrow-gauge lines of the Old South Park either have been abandoned or were converted to standard-gauge, and the bittersweet memory of this line has been kept alive largely only through the efforts of railfan organizations, museums and history books, such as the one you are reading.

The beloved Old South Park is gone - gone forever - and only the ghosts of little Moguls and Connies remain to haunt the heights of the rugged mountain passes where once-upon-silver ribbons of steel tied the booming Mineral Belt together - and these straining engines, which once bounced the sounds of their whistles. exhausts and squealing wheels off the mountainsides and along canyon walls, will never be heard again.

Yet - somehow - we cannot help but hope that the memory of the Old South Park will live on through the ages as a monument to the men and women who built and operated this plucky narrow-gauge road.

All pictures are of the actual item.  If this is a railroad item, this material is obsolete and no longer in use by the railroad.  Please email with questions. Publishers of Train Shed Cyclopedias and Stephans Railroad Directories. Large inventory of railroad books and magazines. Thank you for buying from us.

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